BASNER, Hyman M (1905-1977)

Scope and Content

Papers of Hyman Basner comprise manuscripts of the biography "H.M. Basner - 20 Years in South African Politics" by his wife Miriam, the autobiography of A.S. Mopeli-Paulus co-authored with Miriam Basner, Basner's book "The Black Price of Gold in South Africa from 1870-1960" and random chapters from his unpublished autobiography and books on Ghana and "The Union of Smuts and Strydom"; research notes on his time in Ghana and his legal work involving Basutoland/Lesotho and Harrismith; transcripts of an interview of Basner by Brian Willan on South African politics between 1930-1950 and an interview with David Wilcox Bopape; correspondence including those relating to the publication of articles by Basner, political refugees in Swaziland, Connor Cruise O'Brien and Brian Willan and correspondence between Miriam Basner and various others; copies of published articles by Basner and seminar papers by Baruch Hirson and others; bound reports by various departments of the South African government; letters and pamphlets for his election campaign for the Senate and legal and court papers relating to cases Basner was working on (SOME ARE CLOSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT) and his imprisonment.

Administrative / Biographical History

Hyman M Basner was born in Russia in 1905, and moved to South Africa at an early age. He trained as a lawyer, and his case work brought him into close contact with Africans and their plight. He joined the Communist Party of South Africa, but resigned in 1938. He stood for Senate as a native representative against J H Rheinallt Jones, and served from 1942-1948. In 1943 he co-founded the African Democratic Party. He left South Africa after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, and worked in Ghana from 1962-1966. He died in England in 1977.


1. Manuscripts. 2. Research Notes. 3. Interviews 4. Correspondence. 5. Articles, Seminar Papers and Publications. 6. Reports. 7. Election Papers. 8. Legal and Court Papers.

Access Information

Open except for records restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details. At least 24 hours notice is required for research visits.

Acquisition Information

Given by Baruch Hirson, date unknown.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to file level (see link to repository catalogue).

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Special Collections Reading Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Location of Originals

Tapes of Basner's interview with Brian Willan are held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. Original of The Black price of gold in South Africa, 1870-1960 is at the University of Witwatersrand